Side of effects of statin drug use include muscle pain, nausea, rash and developing Type 2 diabetes, and ignoring these side effects can lead to muscle damage, rhabdomyolysis, kidney failure or death, according to Mayo Clinic. People take statins to lower high cholesterol.
Statin drugs can also affect a person's neurological and liver function, states Mayo Clinic. Some people experience memory loss or confusion while taking statins, and these symptoms ease when the patient stops taking the medication. The Food and Drug Administration warns patients about this risk on statin drug labels. Symptoms of liver damage include abdominal pain, weakness, jaundice and fatigue. A doctor may order a liver enzyme test for patients experiencing these side effects.
People at the highest risk of experiencing side effects from statins include females, anyone over age 65, people with small builds, diabetics, and people who take two or more types of cholesterol-lowering medications. Drinking alcohol can also increase a person's risk of experiencing side effects, according to Mayo Clinic. People can try diet, exercise and weight loss to lower cholesterol levels without taking statins. Doctors may recommend that people experiencing side effects switch to another statin medication, switch to a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, avoid over-the-counter pain relievers or add coenzyme Q10 supplements.